#StandWithRand: Rand Paul Filibuster Sees ‘Over A Million Tweets’


Rand Paul’s nearly 13-hour filibuster on the floor of the Senate Wednesday has sparked a deluge of media interest and coverage. Though we can’t really get into everything being said about Paul’s controversial yet bold stand against the Obama administration’s penchant for drone warfare, we can report that the story was picked up (oddly enough) by Twitter, and that over one million tweets were sent out during the 13-hour span.

Twitter reported on its blog Thursday that more than one million tweets were sent during the Kentucky Republican’s filibuster, putting it on par, at least numerically, with the 1.36 million tweets sent out during President Obama’s recent State of the Union address.

Paul took the Senate floor and made clear his intention to filibuster at 11:47am EST during the Senate’s confirmation vote of White House adviser John Brennan as the new head of the CIA. It wasn’t so much a stand against Brennan, as it was an opportunity for Paul to publicly protest the most universally controversial policy in play from the Obama administration: The use of drones.

Particularly sticky is Attorney General Eric Holder’s confession that using drones to kill American citizens on American soil was at least “hypothetically possible.” This was the primary subject of Rand Paul’s filibuster, and it resulted in Holder’s cold and dismissive clarification to Rand Paul personally. “The answer to that question is no,” Holder wrote, a response that Paul reveled in, because it kind-of sort-of meant that his publicity stunt worked.

And boy, did it! Twitter surprisingly embraced the junior Republican senator (though to be fair, he’s more of a Libertarian like his pops) throughout his 12-hour, 52-minute, and 11-second speech, using hashtags like #standwithrand, #filiblizzard, and #paulnighter. As the day rolled on, the Twitter conversation grew in support of Paul.

Interestingly, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz read some of the filibuster tweets aloud from the Senate floor to encourage Paul.

The White House remained silent for the rest of the night, but #standwithrand was the top trending conversation on Twitter all around the world at 10:30pm Wednesday night.

Whether you support his views or not, Rand Paul’s filibuster was an interesting night at the intersection of politics and social media.

Did you tweet during Rand Paul’s filibuster? Here’s a Daily Show report on it that summarizes it nicely, and humorously.

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Dusten Carlson
Dusten has written for web and print and currently spends his time working on his upcoming graphic novel. He is also almost 30 and still has all of his hair.

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